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Challenging Boundaries in Linguistics

Systemic Functional Perspectives


Edited By Stella Neumann, Rebekah Wegener, Jennifer Fest, Paula Niemietz and Nicole Hützen

Linguistics, like any discipline, is full of boundaries. However, in nature, as Ruqaiya Hasan points out, there are no clear cut boundaries. The participants of the 42nd International Systemic Functional Congress held at RWTH Aachen University addressed and challenged the notion of boundaries in linguistics in many creative ways. Twenty-one of the papers presented at the congress are collated in this volume. The six sections cover topics that challenge theoretical notions and stances, and explore historical, interpersonal and lexicogrammatical boundaries as well as those between languages and in language development. The volume presents a state of the art overview of systemic functional linguistic theorising with extensions into other theoretical frameworks.

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Interpersonal meanings of the free-standing really in conversation (Haeyeon Kim)


Haeyeon KimChung-Ang

Interpersonal meanings of the free-standing really in conversation1

1 Introduction

One of the main functions of language is to share information between speaker and hearer to have a common ground for communication. Functional approaches to language, including systemic functional grammar (SFG), have explored the relationship between forms and functions, i.e., linguistic expressions and communicative functions. In particular, SFG has investigated the multi-dimensional nature of human experience and interpersonal relations in terms of the metafunctions of language: the ideational, the interpersonal and the textual functions (Halliday 1985, 1994; Halliday and Matthiessen 2014).

The purpose of this research is to characterize the use and meanings of really in conversation, focusing on the interactional functions of the free-standing really by investigating its use in a range of interactional contexts. At a clause level in a text, the adverb really is used as a modifier. In traditional grammar, really has been treated as an adverb which functions as a modifier, being termed ‘a style disjunct of modality’ (Quirk et al. 1985) or ‘a stance adverbial of actuality/reality’ (Biber et al. 1999). However, in conversational contexts, some of the instances of really occur as a single phrase, being used as an independent element beyond the clausal level. The single phrase really has been treated as an exclamatory marker, a discourse marker (Schiffrin 1987), or a reactive token (Jefferson 1981). However, little research has been carried out on the functions of the independent element...

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